YOUR ULTIMATE CHOICE Articles
Marcos SennaThe truth is that it has changed my life.
With four knee injuries in his career, it would be understandable if Marcos Senna was burned out, discouraged or disappointed with soccer.
But it’s quite the opposite for the 14-year pro veteran who is healthy now and playing for the Spanish national team, which is No. 1 in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings heading into this summer’s World Cup in South Africa.
“I don’t know another player who has had four knee injuries playing at my level”
“I don’t know another player who has had four knee injuries who has been able to carry on playing at the level I am playing,” says Senna, a midfielder who turns 34 on July 17. “I am at peace; I know God has a purpose in our lives. If I am injured, it is for a reason that I am injured and I understand that I will get better in time. I understand that God…will keep looking after me. And for that reason I am very calm.”
Senna, who was born into poverty in Brazil and began playing soccer in the streets at age six, became a Spanish citizen in 2006 after Villarreal CF coach Luis Aragonés asked him to play for the Spanish national team.
“The truth is that it has changed my life”
“I was not going to give up my nationality by birth – Brazilian,” Senna says. “At that time, I thought it was the best move and a privilege to have dual nationality and the opportunity to play for Spain, one of the best teams in the world. The truth is that it has changed my life. It has been extraordinary.”
Senna, who will be playing in his second World Cup (the first was in 2006), has played for Spain since 2006, and for Villarreal CF since 2002, while serving as captain the past two years. He helped Spain win the 2008 Euro Cup, beating Germany 1-0 for its first Euro title since 1964. Several publications named Senna player of the tournament after he helped Spain become the first team to go unbeaten in the tournament since Germany in 1996.
Senna helped Spain win or tie 35 consecutive matches
From November 2006 until June 2009, he also helped Spain win or tie 35 consecutive matches, tying the mark held by Brazil, and win a record 15 straight during that span while also helping Spain to No. 1 in the World Rankings for the first time in the nation’s history. The streak ended in the Confederations Cup semi-finals with a 2-0 upset loss to the United States.
Before coming to Villarreal CF and the Spanish national team, Senna spent less than a year with São Caetano in Brazil in 2002. Though it was short, it was life-changing.
“They [friends] invited me to a meeting and I went,” Senna recalls. “At that stage I did not know much about the Bible. I had been to church with my mother, but as I grew up I stopped going for some reason. I was not baptized or anything, but I knew some things from my mother and grandmother…I was 25 years old—nearly 26—and they invited me to the meeting. I liked it and I kept on going. Then eight months after I became a Christian, Villarreal signed me and I joined a church in Villarreal where I was baptized.”
“God can give you happiness, peace and joy”
Senna also understands that fame, money and other material things aren’t enough to satisfy a person.
“If you are worried about anything, I do not think that money is the answer,” Senna says. “But God’s Spirit is above all things. God can give you happiness, peace and joy. Just talking about it makes me smile. This has made me very happy and changed my life in every way. It is the best decision that anyone can make in their lives.”
By Brett Honeycutt